October 14, 2012

Too Little Too Late Army

Too Little, Too Late

"Too little, too late" was Army's theme for Saturday's contest between the Black Knights and the Golden Flashes. The Black Knights waited until the third quarter before entering the scoreboard and didn't score a touchdown until the fourth quarter. The vibe of the offense yesterday completely contradicted that of the previous Saturday against Boston College.

Shaky Ground Game

Kent State proved early in the game on Saturday that they could stop Army's triple option offense and that Army would have to find another way to attack the Golden Flash defense. Army distributed the running game with 7 different players getting touches on the ground game yesterday. The leading rusher of the game was Malcolm Brown, who rushed for 92 yards even though he didn't start and played very sparsely in the first half. Brown, who was battling food poisoning all week, scored one touchdown and brought a spark to the offense when he entered the game.

Cadet Caleb Mancuso, a senior at the United Military Academy at West Point commented about Brown importance offensively, "He [Malcolm Brown] just needs to be on the field more often. He is too explosive of a player to be on the sidelines. Everyone enjoys watching Brown and there's no doubt he contributes to the offense." Many of the Army faithful feel the same way as Mancuso and hope to see Brown back in his starting role for the remainder of the season.

The Black Knights, who entered the game as the nation's leading rushing offense, did not have a single rusher with over 100 yards yesterday. However, this was not the first time an opponent (Stony Brook) held all the Army rushers under 100 yards. The first half of the Army-Kent State matchup reminded many Army fans of a couple weeks ago when Stony Brook halted the Army offense repeatedly. Both contests produced a low number of points and rushing yards for the Black Knight offense. Slotback Raymond Maples, fullback Larry Dixon and quarterback Trent Steelman usually provide well over 100 yards on the ground, but were stopped Saturday well short of the century mark. Maples went for 80 yards and Steelman provided 66 yards. Dixon, gained 34 yards on the ground which is a low number for the fullback who was averaging 92 rushing yards per game on the season. Army fans saw a new face in the form of sophomore running back Trenton Turrentine, who debuted two weeks ago against Stony Brook. This week he was in the starting lineup on offense replacing Brown. On the day he had 5 rushes for 27 yards, averaging the highest number of yards per carry excluding Malcolm Brown.

Passing Game: A Schurr Thing

This Saturday, Army enthusiasts saw something they weren't familiar with: a passing game. The 132 passing yards that the Army quarterbacks and receivers put together is a season high. Steelman threw for 66 yards and A.J. Schurr, who came in the game during the fourth quarter, also threw for 66 yards and his first career touchdown. The Freshman quarterback impressed many during his college debut under center Saturday showing his dynamic capabilities and possibly showing the Army loyal what is to come next season. Wide Receiver A.J. Schurr Chevaughn Lawrence racked up a career-high 88 yards on 6 catches and led the Army receivers this Saturday. He was supported by the Patrick Laird as he caught 2 catches for a total of 10 yards and one touchdown. This is Laird's first career touchdown, and was named as the Top Play of the College Day by ESPN. Slotback Stephen Frazer and Dixon both caught one pass and combined for 34 yards. The relative success of the passing game gives hope for a more developed, dynamic, and multi-faceted Army offensive strategy the remainder of this season.

Saturday's Team Stats

At the end of the game, only one stat matters: the score. However, Army dominated almost every other stat that analysts look at when predicting or explaining the outcome of a game. Army dominated time of possession, as they usually do, 35:57 - 24:03. Also, the Black Knights unsurprisingly dominated the ground game 325 - 283. More surprisingly, the Black Knights' offense actually owned the throwing game 132 - 84. Army had a higher total number of first downs, which is typical of the Army style of offense. Both teams struggled on 3rd down, with Army coming out slightly on top 5/17 - 1/9. The Black Knights had half as many penalty yards as the Flashes. Perhaps the only stat the Black Knights lost was the turnover battle. However, the Army's only turnover came on a fourth down in the fourth quarter when Army had been stopped anyway, not particularly contributing to the outcome of the game. While all these stats make it appear that Army owned this game, the score said otherwise. However, these stats point out that the game should have been much closer. If the Army defense can eliminate the 3 or 4 big plays that hurt the Knights early, the offense will be able to control the flow of the game.

Next week, Army prepares to play at Eastern Michigan and hopes to get their second win of the season and return home with some momentum.

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